After watching a segment from today’s Morning Joe in which a focus group reacted to Donald Trump’s use of the words ass, shit, and fuck at rallies, my first reaction was “I can’t believe Donald Trump said fuck at a rally.” It turns out that he didn’t say fuck at a rally, because he speaks like a radio edit.

The focus group was comprised of undecided Republican South Carolina voters. Early on, Mark Halperin showed them three clips, in which Trump is said saying “sue his ass,” “knock the shit out of ISIS,” and “go fuck themselves,” all bleeped out in the traditional cable TV style. The relevant portion starts at about 1:50 in the video below.

The group members all react fairly strongly to the video. One woman said she thought the cussing was enough to disqualify Trump, and a man hinted that it might make winning over religious South Carolinians difficult for the candidate.

Trump, as he is wont to do, took umbrage with the coverage via Twitter.

It pains me to say it, but Donald Trump is right. As you’ll hear in the unedited clip below, Trump didn’t technically say fuck at the rally. He blanked himself out, like a weirdo.

However, he has shown himself unafraid to say shit.

Trump has a point in disputing the way the videos were presented to viewers. If he didn’t say fuck, it’s a little strange to make it seem like he did, then to place vast political significance on his saying it. (“WILL TRUMP TRANSLATE IN SOUTH CAROLINA?” reads the chyron under the focus groupers’ reactions. It’s unclear whether they got the edited or unedited version of the clip.)

Unnecessary bleeps aside: whether you respond well to Trump’s brand of performative populism or you think it’s a load of s*&^, a candidate who talks like a human clean version is much more bizarre and unsettling than one who actually curses.

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